European researchers have developed the most advanced spontaneous language understanding (SLU) systems for both the Polish and Italian languages. It is the first time SLUs of this level were developed for these languages, according to the Luna project behind the work.
Spontaneous language understanding is far more advanced than the traditional interactive voice response (IVR) systems that people may already be familiar with. In traditional IVRs, the user is required to answer questions with specific words or short sentences proposed by the systems.
But with SLU, language systems are designed to respond to spontaneous speech: real conversations between people that include the sentence fillers and pause words like ‘um’ and ‘er’.
You know what I mean?
“With spontaneous language understanding, machines know the meaning of what you are saying, it is considerably more intuitive and pleasant than simple menu-driven speech applications,” explains Silvia Mosso of Loquendo in Italy which is coordinating the research.
Up to now, these sorts of systems have been unavailable in Polish or Italian, but the EU-funded Luna project has created fully functional prototypes that should be ready for commercial development shortly after the project finishes later in 2009.
To achieve this level of sophistication, the project investigated language and semantic modelling for speech understanding, and research into automatic learning, where the software ‘studies’ a series of sample conversations, called a corpus.
Finally, the scientific team looked at making the system robust and studied the portability of Luna components across the languages. The upshot is that it will be easier to take the advances developed in the project and apply them to other languages.
SLU systems already exist for languages like English and French, but Luna’s work means it will be easier to apply these techniques to a host of other languages, and Italian and Polish were a test run.
The polish system will be used for public transport. “People will be able to ring a public transport company and get travel information for their itinerary. The Italian system will focus on an IT helpdesk service for a public administration.
“So people will be able to call and say ‘my printer is not working,’ and they will be able to get help for that,” reveals Mosso, Luna’s coordinator. “The advantage is that these systems can be applied to other types of helpdesks, or other types of transportation.”
It will still be necessary to record the original conversations, which ‘teach’ the machine the correct responses, for any target language, but the Luna system means that it will become much easier to create high-performance automatic telephone services.
The Luna project received funding from the ICT strand of the Sixth Framework Programme for research.
This is the second of a two-part feature on Luna published by ICT Results.
Christian Nielsen | alfa
Equipping form with function
23.06.2017 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity
23.06.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Life Sciences
23.06.2017 | Information Technology